Centre reverses MCI ban on NIOS students appearing for NEET
Bangalore: Bringing relief to lakhs of students of National Institute of Open Schooling who had been denied a chance of pursuing a career in Medicine by the recent decision of the Medical Council of India, the government has now reversed the order.
Medical Dialogues team had in December reported that the Medical Council of India (MCI) had issued a notice clearly stating that a person who had passed his/her 10+2 from NIOS or State Open Schooling Boards, is not eligible to take admission in MBBS or equivalent medical course in a medical university/medical college outside the country. The apex medical regulator had also stated that in such cases, the Medical Council of India will not accept applications for Eligibility Certificate from all students intending to take admission in foreign medical institutions from the academic year 2017-18 and onwards till further orders.
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Government statistics speak of 2 lakh students enrolling with the NIOS every year and more than 3,000 to have appeared for the NEET last year.
An environment of apprehension seemed to had been created with the Medical Council of India (MCI), barring students of the Open and Distance mode pattern (NIOS), from appearing for the Common Medical Entrance Examination (NEET). This had led to a meeting to be held between the Human Resource Minister, Prakash Javadekar and Union Health Minister, JP Nadda to ponder over the Council’s decision.Read also:
“The HRD Ministry stressed in a meeting with the Health Ministry that the MCI order was against the government policy on equal learning and career opportunities for open school students. NIOS students are to be treated on par with regular students,” said a government source.
Now Indian Express reports that a decision in favour of the students had been taken by the Health Ministry after the Ministry of Human Resource Development voiced its opposition to it. However, no official notification has been issued in this regard has been issued, as yet.
Clash of Reasons
A written communication of the MCI to NIOS in December 2017 stated students clearing their Class XII through the NIOS would not be allowed to appear for the National Eligibility Exam in the absence of the practical component in their curriculum.
The MCI order stated the ban to be applicable to students studying in state open schools as well.
“There were three points on which the decision was taken—stream, curriculum, and duration of the course vis-a-vis regular students. Since the NIOS syllabus does not have a practical component, it is no match for regular students,” an official in the undergraduate section of the MCI told the New Indian Express. “NIOS students have been enjoying the privilege (in context of NEET), but we thought it was not justified, so we came up with the order this year,”
Another MCI noting in this regard last year had stated:"the Council Office has got the matter legally examined as regards the issuance of Eligibility Certificate in respect of the applicants who have passed +2 from NIOS and are desirous of taking admission in MBBS or equivalent medical course in a medical University outside the country and it has been advised that any candidate who has not undergone classroom training in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English, simultaneous and co-terminus including taking practical examination in class 11th and 12 , is not eligible for grant of Eligibility Certificate for the purpose of seeking admission in primary medicine course in a foreign medical institute and therefore also ineligible to appear in the Screening Test for obtaining registration to practice medicine in the country."
The HRD Ministry, however, made it amply clear that the MCI reasoning could not be made the basis to deny NIOS students an opportunity to appear for pre-medical tests.
“On many occasions, when students fail the Class XII boards or get a compartment in one or more subjects, they choose an open school to clear their boards. It won’t be justified if they are denied the opportunity to take the NEET,” the official said.